Weekly Race Shout Outs and 33 + 2 Questions

Um, Hello Race Season!

Sending Fast Thoughts To:

Shantarella who is running HER FIRST MARATHON in South Africa!

Kelly who is running the Rock n Roll Denver Half this weekend!

Lindsey is running her FIRST half marathon this weekend!

Allison who is running a half marathon with her myTeamTriumph!

Hyedi who is running a 5-K this weekend (and is hopefully feeling better!)



1) First: TWO WEEKS AND TWO DAYS!!! Oh my goodness, I can’t even handle it.

2) I admit…after the first game, I was pretty worried.  I asked Aaron if I could retract my decision.  BUT, I’m at peace now.  I mean, it takes me a few miles to warm-up, so why wouldn’t it take a team a few games to warm-up?  GO GIANTS!!!

3) So, aside from just more of the same running recaps (boring this week since the taper), I’m fresh out of things to say until next week when I anticipate a daily freak out session that you may have to help me through.  Should be fun.  But, until then, I thought I’d catch up on some Leibster Questions.

The lovely ladies Lindsey, Allison, and Shantarella each nominated me for the award (THANK YOU!), and provided the following questions to be answered. Incidentally, all three are up there racing this weekend!

Allison’s Questions

1. Why did you start blogging? I started out blog stalking.  Then friends started getting their own blogs.  I was like, I want a blog too! I posted for about 9 months before I figured out what I wanted to write about.

2. What three words best describe you? Short, caffeinated, competitive

3. What is your favorite comfort food? Sweet and sour pork.  And cookies. I’m a sucker for cookies.

4. What are the top three things on your Bucket List? Go to Europe (Like seriously.  There is this whole amazing continent full of art and wine, and I’ve never been there.  NOT COOL), Get Interviewed on The Today Show (I’m not above creating a crazy YouTube video to make this happen), Run the Boston Marathon (preferably BEFORE I’m 80).

5. What is one skill or sport you wish you were really good at? I wish I was good at any sport.  I really suck at sports. But I really wish I understood the financial realm and economics. Sloan on Newsroom helps me, but I’m still a deer in headlights when people start talking about advanced concepts.

6. What is one goal you would like to achieve this next year?: I’ll let you know AFTER the marathon.

7. Five things in your gym bag or purse are _____? Kleenex, lip gloss, wallet, pen, cell phone (this is my bag…I don’t actually carry a gym bag…that’s what husbands are for!).

8. When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up? A doctor.  And then a Disney Imagineer.  Not even remotely close to either.

9. Where is your favorite vacation destination? San Francisco (now that I don’t live 30 miles away), and Disneyland/ Disney World.  I do love me a nice beach though.

10. What was your favorite childhood TV show? Hmmm…Full House, and Muppet Babies. And of course World News Tonight with Peter Jennings.

11. If you could change careers, what would you do? Best selling author/professor.  The author of Jarhead taught at my college, and he’d fly in every week from his home in L.A. I could deal with that lifestyle I think.

Shantarella’s Questions:

1. What is your biggest achievement ? Endurance running.  In a few weeks, I will definitely say “running a marathon.”  I truthfully never had to try very hard to be successful.  This is probably the first thing in my life that I’ve actually worked my butt off for.

2. What is the best thing about where you live ? FOOD.  Green chile is amazing.

3. What is your favourite beverage? Water! And wine.

4. What was the last book you read ? Still reading The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois. Non-fiction is hard to read when you’re using it as a bedtime book.

5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Hopefully living somewhere near the ocean or water

6. Whats your favourite blog? My own!

7. What would be your dream job? See # 11 above

8. Cupcakes or Cocktails ? BOTH.  Seriously, Shantarella….what kind of question is that????

9. Where would you like to go on your next holiday? I NEED to get to Europe. But first up, Chicago!

10. Whats your favourite Disney movie? This is like asking me to choose between children….hmmm…The Little Mermaid.  And Aladdin. And Peter Pan.  And Wall-E. Just, all of them.  I think that’s the safest answer.

11. What car do you drive? A black SUV that I’m in love with!

Lindsey’s Questions:

1. What is your favorite inspirational quote or motto? Dream as if you’ll live forever.  Live as if you’ll die today.

2. What is the #1 played song on your iPod? Hmmm…I haven’t kept track in awhile.  If I had to guess, I’d say Don’t Stop Believing. I love Journey so much it hurts.

3. What’s your least favorite chore? DISHES.  I HATE dishes.  I’d rather clean toilets.

4. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be? Play the violin. And I’d like to be able to talk intelligently about economics.

5. If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to? My name was SUPPOSED to be Aimee, the French version of Amy, so I’d start there.  I also really like first names that should be last names or names that make me sound like I play Lacrosse at Harvard.

6. What story does your family always tell about you? Either the pigeon that wouldn’t leave me alone when I was learning to ride a bike, or when I sped down the mountain on skis and had to wait for my dad and the bottom of the hill (I was like 7).  My sisters like to make up stories about how mean I was to them and I how I did things like lock them in the car.  I think they’re being overdramatic.

7. What was the first concert you ever went to? Hmmmm……I think Pavarotti.  He actually came to Albuquerque to perform maybe 11 years ago and my family is a bunch of opera crazies.  It was a big deal.

8. Do you prefer summer or winter? SUMMER! Although, running in summer is not fun.  I hate being cold.

9. How did you get in to blogging? See above

10. What is something you have always wanted to try? Backpacking through Europe.  I’m kind of past the right age now though. And I can appreciate the value of a comfortable bed and my own bathroom.

11. The best part of waking up is? LIVING!

AMY’ S QUESTIONS for everyone:

1) What is your favorite social medium?

After all this time, Facebook is still my favorite.  I love Pinterest but I liked it more before it was overrun with weight loss tips and “pin now, read later” captions.

2) What are you doing this weekend?  

The last 20 miler.  Unless something goes very wrong.  And then I’ll finally get to really taper too!

Have a fantastic weekend! 

Chicago: So Much More Than Just a Marathon

Hey y’all!

Well, just when I thought the heat would be a topic of the past (because really that’s all anyone, including myself, has talked about this summer), here we are in the middle of another heat wave.  While it isn’t as hot here as it might be in Phoenix (sorry, Jac), we opted to do our intervals on the treadmill on Tuesday (I think Aaron wanted to avoid “you made me run when it’s too hot to run fast, so I’m going to run slow to spite you” Amy at all costs, so onto the treadmill we hopped, alternating, doing core work and weight lifting in between intervals.  I just wish treadmill running was exactly equivalent to real running because I kept up about a 6:30 minute mile pace the whole time, even venturing into the 6:07 territory for multiple tenths of a mile.

But sadly real life doesn’t have a moving conveyor belt to do some of the work for you, and neither is it flat unless you live in the midwest.  Chicago is in the Midwest!


“Bet your bottom dollar, you’ll lose the blues in Chicago
Chicago, the town that Billy Sunday couldn’t shut down “

-Frank Sinatra

(A quick Wiki search shows me that Billy Sunday was pro-prohibitionist and a Christian Evangelical).

I went on google earth and looked at the map of the course.  I mean, it isn’t New York where you get to run through the 5 boroughs and across the Brooklyn Bridge and into Central Park. And it isn’t Disney where you’re running through the happiest place on Earth with characters ready to take pictures with you.  And it might not even be the US Half Marathon (who I am SO disappointed in by the way…don’t ever do that race) where I got to run through San Francisco.  But it looks amazing!

You get to run through so many neighborhoods (29 according to Wikipedia), across that awesome looking urban river a few times (apparently named The Chicago River), and all over the city.

We have never been to Chicago.  In fact, I only made it to “the middle” two years ago for a wedding, so that whole section of the country is still a mystery to me.  Aaron’s mom is from Michigan, so he spent a lot of time there growing up, but I won’t dare compare Detroit/Ann Arbor to Chicago.

Our hotel is only a couple of blocks from the race start, so I think the energy of having some 40,000 runners in one concentrated area will be pretty cool.  Even Phoenix felt like Runner City for RnRAZ, so I can only imagine what it will feel like during Marathon weekend in Chicago.

We’re starting to look into what we want to do while we in the city.  We obviously don’t want to do a lot of walking in the days before running, and we may not be able to do a lot of walking in the days after, so we’re trying to figure out how to maximize our vacation without being on our feet too much.

I’m starting to research the following:

1) A Mafia Tour: I am weirdly obsessed with the mafia.  I want to see sites where people got whacked.

2) John Hughes Tour: I LOVE John Hughes movies.  No girl who lived in the 80’s doesn’t.  16 Candles? The Breakfast Club? Planes Trains and Automobiles? FERRIS BUELLER?!  Even Home Alone.  I want to see as many of these characters’ homes, schools, and shenanigan sites that I can.

3) The Art Institute of Chicago: Both Aaron and I thought at some point in college that we would be art history experts, so we both have a lot of art knowledge.  And we LOVE museums.  So, this is an obvious stop in our Chicago tour.  Known for the large Impressionist collection, Monet and Van Gogh are among the artists whose works hang on these walls.

4) PIZZA! And Hot Dogs! Post marathon, I can eat junk food AND not feel guilty about it!

5) Blues Clubs: Apparently Chicago is known for them.

6) Michigan Avenue: It has nice stores.  I like nice stores.

7) A dip in the Lake: I figure post marathon, this will feel like a giant ice bath!

There aren’t any local sports games that weekend.  I think seeing Wrigley Field would be cool though.  Also, Devil in the White City is one of my favorite books, and I would LOVE to see some of the World’s Colombian Expedition sites, but apparently they don’t exist anymore. It’s not like 1893 was THAT long ago.

What am I missing??? Recommendations are appreciated!

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend.  We are running 19 and 9 this weekend.  For the first time ever, our weekend mileage will actually be higher than 26.2.  Getting closer!

Stay cool out there!

Race Shout-Outs and Friday!

Sending Fast Thoughts to:

1) Laura is doing her first triathlon.  I’m excited to see how it turns out!

2) Rachel is doing a Tough Mudder.  I’m slightly jealous, and can’t wait to see her recap!

3) Tracie is running a 5 mile race.  Tracie is super speedy, so I’m sure she’ll do awesome!

4) Steena is doing her half Ironman this weekend which sounds scary and fun!

5) Twitter Caron is running the Spearfish Canyon South Dakota Half this weekend!

Good luck to you ladies and all others racing this weekend!

Bunch of stuff to discuss today!

First, one of the things I  like about blogging is the ability to go back and gain some perspective of myself and a situation I was in and what I thought about it.  Usually, I frantically write my posts in the hours before heading to work, or during my lunch break, so there is little time to edit my brain out.  What is going through my head at that moment is usually what ends up being written whether it is good or bad.  And most of the time, I don’t even realize what my thoughts were about something until I go back and read what I wrote.

I went back and looked at the post I wrote about participating in the Wild West relay and I realized that I didn’t really show any signs of actually wanting to do it.  I had a billion reasons for not going, but only 1 in support of it.

We’re not going to go.  It just wasn’t in the stars for us.  I would absolutely want to do a relay in the future, but this one just wasn’t it. Anyone up for it next year?

Second, on the note about writing my posts with what is in my head at that moment….my little sister has brought it to  my attention that I complain too much on my blog.  My first instinct was to say, well, maybe if you got off your butt and ran 800’s (or you know, ran at all), you’d complain too.  But then I thought about it a little bit.

I want this blog to show what it is like, good or bad, for a first timer training for a marathon with a ridiculous goal (but really, this is applicable to training for any distance).  There will be days when everything goes your way, and if feels great, and you want to celebrate your hard work paying off.   There will be days when you feel physically ill or when you fail at your goal, or when you just want to sleep in on Saturday for once, and you want to be able to let it all out.  I usually don’t relate very well to people who are always 100% positive and think marathons are SO GREAT and running is SO AMAZING ALL THE TIME And nothing EVER hurts or feels bad.  Mostly because I think they are liars.

BUT, I think it takes far more time and energy to complain than to do something productive about it,  and I really don’t want to become that person who does nothing but talk about how much I hate what I’m doing.  Because that’s dumb.

So, will I still let you know how much I want to punch 92 degrees in the face? Yup.  But I will try to be more mindful of not turning into someone who is one long list of complaints and negativity.

Third, a friend clued me into a new show on HBO called, The Newsroom.  Oh my goodness.  HBO shows are typically pretty good anyway, but this show is really well done.

I spent the first 3 years of college thinking I was going to be a journalist.  I changed my mind my senior year (too late to do that,by the way, if you want to graduate) because I realized that not only wasn’t I aggressive enough to keep pushing someone’s buttons until they gave me the answers I wanted, but I also realized that journalism and “the news” weren’t at all what I expected.  Advertisers run the news, and every news company is owned by other companies who own other companies.  Just try and do a “news” story on a scandal involving one of those other stepbrother companies.  It ain’t going to happen.  And news outlets will do just about anything for ratings. Like fire poor Ann Curry.  Don’t even get me started.

I remember studying the Jayson Blair/New York Times scandal and thinking, this is the New York effing Times.  A reputable news source.  And they made stuff up.

So, I became completely disenchanted.

The Newsroom gets me. Intelligent, well acted, I LOVE that they have powerful, smart women with emotions, and I’m learning a lot about some big “current” events that I kind of glossed over as they were happening.  AND cast includes THE “district attorney” from Law and Order, and THE Slumdog Millionaire.  And the threesome obsessed grad student from Magic Mike.

Fourth, blog friend Allison from Running Through Red Lights is starting FitStreak next Monday.  I know just about everyone and their brother did RunStreak this summer.  I didn’t because my goal is my marathon, and I value my rest days.  Allison got through RunStreak and was going for the extended version, and she broke it.  So, she decided to start her own streak (WITH PRIZES!) that just involves exercise everyday.  I do love running, but if I had to do it every single day, I’d probably not.  Her challenge lets you do whatever you want!  Her blog has all of the information.

Fifth, confession: I skipped my Tempo Run yesterday.  I came home, collapsed on the bed, took a nap, woke up, ordered Chinese Food (no gluten really limits the options), and watched The Newsroom.  I was just tired.  I never take naps.  So, I got up and did my tempo this morning.  I actually felt really guilty about the whole thing (and felt like I gained 10 pounds).  But I guess that goes to show you, not everything is going to work out 100% of the time.  And that’s ok (I think…)

I hope everyone has a spectacular weekend! See you back here on Monday!

{Yeah, I don’t know.  But’s she’s kind of cute for being a baby and all!}

Friday Take Two


It seems like I just had a Friday.  My life has been one giant ball of confusion this week.

So, after a quick look around blog land today, I didn’t see any pre-race posts.  It is quite possible that everyone got their races in on Wednesday. I’m sorry if I missed you, and I hope you have wonderful luck if you are racing! (Update: Whitney is crossing Alaska off her list tomorrow!)


I don’t have too much to say today.

I ran in the rain last evening, and it felt glorious! After weeks of HOTNESS we’ve finally cooled down to highs in the mid 80’s and a monsoon season!  The rain makes everything so green and so fresh, and it feels like I’m running through a giant sprinkler.  Everytime I’m running and I want to die because it is so hot, I wish for a giant sprinkler to appear, so running in the rain is like a small dream come true.  I’m so sorry to anyone living just about anywhere else right now because I know you are hot. I’ve been there and I feel your pain.

I’ve been watching reruns of The Hills the past couple of mornings. I loved The Hills and Laguna Beach when they were on-air (well, I stopped watching The Hills after Kristin took over).  I was a California college girl at the time (one of the minor Laguna characters went to my school!), and I was not sure why my life (and my clothes) didn’t look like theirs.  I am having a hard time believing that it has already been 5 years since I watched this show! It seems like just yesterday I was grossing out over Justin Bobby.

And I always thought Spencer was bad news, but watching these shows now after being a bit older and with almost 3 years of marriage under my belt, leaves me truly horrified.  His control over Heidi (who I think was 19 at the time) is nothing short of emotionally abusive.  He isolates her, makes her completely dependent on him, and gives her no say in their relationship.  And later into the future there is the plastic surgery ordeal where he literally physically altered her appearance to fit his version of ideal.

I know a lot of what happens on these shows is blown out of proportion to make it entertaining, but I think, especially after the surgeries, that Heidi really showed that she wasn’t in control.

I guess they’re still married?  I only hope that this poor girl has any shred of self-worth left. TIP: if the entire world thinks your fiancée/husband is a DB, then maybe you should entertain the possibility.

Sorry, man people, for that Hills rant.

I’m also having a crazy obsession with 1960’s Palm Springs right now.  I want to be lounging in a poolside chaise wearing a glamorous Givenchy resort outfit, drinking a dirty martini, listening to Rosemary Clooney.  Is that too much to ask for this weekend? (We’ll forget for a moment that it is probably 120 degrees in Palm Springs right now and that the 1960’s probably smelled like a giant ash tray).

Reality Check: I will be running 14 miles.  The moment I pass 13.2, I will officially hit my longest run ever.  This is kind of exciting!  I remember a little less than a year ago I hit 6.3 miles, which was the longest I’d run up to that point and I felt so accomplished! Amazing how a year can change things.

Annnnndddd…I think this warrants some kind of celebration. Might as well get some presents out of it, right? It isn’t everyday that a girl runs her longest run ever (thank goodness).

Am I the only crazy that celebrates mileage milestones? Can someone please take me to Palm Springs? I’ve only been once, but I was 5 and all I remember was that the detour was distracting from my Sea World time.  And I thought it was crazy that you could check out of the hotel room from the T.V. set.  I’m always amazed at the weird memories that stick in our brains.  I literally have a picture in my head of that T.V in Palm Springs circa 1989 with instructions on how to check out.

Have a fantastic weekend, everyone!

Race Shout Outs and The Kind of Randomness That Can Only Come From a Day Off

Sending Fast Thoughts To:

Sam with Operation Jack is running the Utah Valley Marathon this weekend, and hoping BQ for his 6th Boston Marathon!

Whitney, who seriously puts my racing schedule to shame, will be crossing Nebraska off her list at the Buffalo County Stampede Half Marathon!

Danielle who will be running the Montrose 10-K this weekend in Scotland!

Lindsey from Never Say Never will be running the Wounded Warrior 10-K this weekend!

Good luck to these lovely people and everyone else running!


So, I am giving myself a 4 day weekend just for fun.  Nothing going on except playing real housewives of Albuquerque until Tuesday.  I hope to get a lot done like some organizing, yard work, housecleaning.  Or you know, drink my coffee, blog stalk, and watch the MTV movie awards on playback…. (P.S. Johnny Depp + Black Keys is AMAZING! And Russell Brand is actually pretty funny this time).

Today is also my first official marathon training rest day, so nothing too much going on in my corner!

So, here’s what’s going on in the rest of the world! (Amazing what you can learn when you have time to watch the Today Show and catch up on celebrity gossip!).

1)The Tony Awards are this weekend.  As a genuine GLEEer for life (I was in show choir from 7th grade until my senior year of high school), I’m all about the showtunes.  And even more about Neil Patrick Harris.  True story.  He’s from Albuquerque.  I’ve seen him at the mall before.  Highlight of my life.

{Show Choir Amy loved NPH and Glee before they were cool}

2) Mad Men Season Finale: What??? Don’t normal show seasons last longer than 2 months? They make us wait FOREVER and then only give us two months of episodes that Betty hardly appeared in? These people are tyring to ruin my life.

3) Miley and Liam: She’s 19 and takes iPhone mirror duck face photos in her underwear.  No judgement….BUT SERIOUSLY???. (This photo makes me severely uncomfortable by the way).

4) Hot Chocolate 15K: Albuquerque is getting its own Hot Chocolate race.  Has anyone done one of these races?  Apparently they’ve had some ridiculously disastrous races, but they DO have a chocolate party afterwards and I think they’ve gotten their act together.  But it is also $60 and 1 week before my marathon that I want to BQ for.  What do you guys think?

5) My picture on facebook: Always awkward when someone brings their phone up to you (or in this case Aaron), and shows you a picture of yourself at a beer festival that has been up on facebook for who knows how long.  This was in April 2011, and I honestly have no recollection of it being taken (and I don’t look tanked, so I don’t think that’s the explanation).  At least we don’t look completely ridiculous.  But still.  Surprise!

6) The Belmont Stakes is the last of the horse racing trifecta.  “I’ll Have Another” is going for the Triple Crown after winning both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, and I’m cheering for him.

On that note…is it too early for a mimosa? I think I could get used to this Real Housewives lifestyle! (just kidding about the mimosa by the way…kind of…)


Another Weekend Comes to Pass

Even though the Lavenders all had a rather long and mediocre Monday (Aaron got so frustrated that he went out and bought 2 Powerball tickets), in our minds we are still basking in the gloriously (and dangerously) sunny weekend.  Not that I’m complaining about the amazing sunshine, but we could use a lot of rain.

This was the last weekend before our half marathon training begins.  Even though I know the first few weeks of training won’t be too much different from the mileage we put in on the weekends now (we did  5. 75 on Saturday and a little over 3 yesterday), knowing that next weekend I will have to start a dedicated regimen of weights, core work, distance running, yoga, and track workouts makes me feel sleepy and sad.

BUT, that is in the future.  For this weekend, I got away with eating bad food, drinking cheap wine, and running 3 miles at an average of 9:30 a mile (which is even bad by my standards).  Stupid Garmin and its stupid reminders at how slow I run…

Saturday was my mom’s birthday, so it was spent doing mom birthday things like shopping for presents and trying to get the wait staff at Trombinos to do a loud obnoxious birthday song for her (that mission failed miserably).

After a rather tasty, rich, creamy Italian feast that won’t as possible starting next Saturday, Aaron and I decided it was time to try out our new Houdini!

A couple of weeks ago in a moment of epic Friday night failure, Aaron broke the cork screw.  Luckily it was broken in the process of getting the cork out so we were still able to have our wine.  The next day we headed over to William Sonoma to pick out our new cork screw only to realize that we are not yet so pretentious that we are willing to spend $95 on (a super fancy amazingly beautiful) cork screw.  So, we got the slightly cheaper cousin at Target: The Houdini.

I’ve heard a lot of good about the pricey Rabbit cork screw, but I’m not quite sure what the rabbit does that the Houdini doesn’t. I haven’t been more impressed with a household knickknack… maybe ever.

Step 1: cut the foil in one fast, neat swirl.

Step 2: Place the Houdini over the cork, and push the lever (which screws into the cork without much effort on your part!).

Step 3: Retract the lever to painlessly pull out the cork.  No broken cork parts in your wine, no wasted time trying to get the stupid cork out.  Just pure cork extraction perfection.

Step 4: Get nice husband to get the cork out of the Houdini while you enjoy the wine.

Now, we are Casa Rondena members so we get 2 bottles of good wine a month,  not to mention we have a  wine rack full of impressive bottles.  However, sometimes Saturday nights call for buying a Costco sized bottle of Barefoot.

On Sunday morning, after our 3 mile run (and after Crazy Aaron got back from his 26 mile bike ride following our 3 mile run), I figured he deserved some Mimosa, and I thought I would join in because no one should have to drink Mimosa alone.  Luckily, we had a bottle of St. Clair mimosa waiting in the refrigerator for the occasion.  I figure since we will have to be eating for fitness very soon, a celebratory Mimosa was more than necessary.

Sunday afternoon found us at Hallenbrick Brewery, which is one of those little dive pubs in the middle of the Industrial District behind Jefferson.

Hallenbrick usually has 2 or 3 of their microbrews (I love the Adobe Stout) and a limited selection of other local favorites.  We like going there because it is hardly ever crowded,  it is pajamas casual, AND Giuseppe is more than welcome.  Plus, the bar seems to attract friendly people.  Definitely the type of place where you stay longer than you anticipate because you’re having such good conversation with strangers.  This was the case yesterday.

What lovely taps

Not only did we chance upon ANOTHER Westie, but we also met a group of people who have a running/socialization group (“a drinking club with a running problem”) and they even talked us into joining their Red Dress Run Fundraiser on August 20th.  Basically, I will have an excuse to buy a new red dress (I think Aaron is even planning on squeezing into one!), and the total run is only 5 miles but you stop at 4 different breweries along the way.  Seeing as how 4 of the 5 people who were part of this group were guys, I think this has the potential to be a very interesting event.  We were even invited to join one of their runs, though from the sound of it, there is more socializing than actual running so we may have to participate sparingly now that we will be doing our”serious” training.

Giuseppe and his new friend (or mortal enemy) Oso

We ended the night and weekend with a viewing of The Goonies, which reinforced my belief that Oregon is cool, and that I have a chance of one day stumbling upon a pirate ship.

And then it was Monday again.

I Wish Every Day Could Be A Summer Weekend

Another great weekend is coming to an end.  We’ve had some absolutely wonderful weekends this summer.  The weather has actually been (dangerously) full of sunshine (great for being outside, not so great for the city’s water supply)  and it seems like there is a never-ending supply of new places popping up around town, and we’ve been trying to get to as many of them as we can in between our regular weekend chores and our long training runs.

Take me to the car wash, baby!

My poor car gets washed about once a year which makes it quite embarrassing to drive around.  Apparently, though, not embarrassing enough for me to do anything about it I guess.  I’d rather spend money on almost anything else than a car wash, and the thought of doing it myself brings up bad memories of high school car wash fundraisers and having to wash dirty, dirty cars for dirty old men who liked the thought of scantily clad teenagers washing their car.  Aaron on the other hand tends to keep his car in much more pristine condition.  Probably doesn’t hurt that he has a much nicer car than I do and drives his around much more than I drive mine.  Because we’ve had about 2 days worth of rain since last summer, we decided it was safe to wash both cars, and I even helped…even though it doesn’t look like I did more than take pictures of Aaron.

Around Town

We probably hang out around Nob Hill every weekend.  We do a lot of our shopping there, and the restaurant/bar selection is great.  This weekend we also took a quick stroll around Downtown.   I try not to hang out in Downtown Albuquerque as much as possible.  There isn’t much there except office buildings and a bunch of bars that we don’t like with crowds that we don’t like.  But there are a few neat little corners of Downtown (The Kimo Theater, Chama River Microbrew, and Gold Street Cafe), and the area is in the middle of what is looking like a fantastic urban renewal.  We even stumbled upon the 2nd location of the cafe that inspired Giuseppe’s name! (The other one is of course in Nob Hill).

One of the new restaurants we tried out was The Slice Parlor in Nob Hill.  We walked by it last weekend during Summerfest, and thought we’d give it a try.  The pizza is New York style (thin crust, big slices), and they have the typical pizza toppings and three different sauces to choose from (tomato, white, pesto).  The food and atmosphere were good, but what Aaron enjoyed the most was the bathroom decor!

All That Jazz

I have been stalking Jazzbah since friend Peter (owner of BRGR downtown) mentioned that a new, upscale jazz bar was opening on Gold.  As the weirdo who listens to more Frank, Nat, and Ella than Katy, Bruno, or Ke$ha, I was quite excited to imagine an entire establishment dedicated to Amy music.  After “liking” their Facebook page I found out about their soft opening this weekend, and would stop at nothing to make sure we got there.

I knew I was in the right place when I saw a huge picture of Frank hanging on the wall, and comfy looking couches surrounding the tables.  In between sets of live music (last night there was a piano player and a bassist), my beloved crooners played in the background.  The menu was surprisingly CHEAP.  The entrees are smaller than the average heaping portions you find most places, but my shrimp entree was $8, so I’m not going to complain.  I think the steak was the most expensive thing on the menu at $16.

The cocktail menu is quite impressive, and our speciality cocktails actually ended up costing more than our entrees.  But our drinks were pretty and tasty, and from what I can tell on the Facebook page, the bartender is kind of a big deal.


Jazzbah was great.  Upscale atmosphere, good food at a reasonable price, fancy drinks, classic background music, live music, and couches to relax on while taking it all in.

I really hope that this place not only makes it, but does well enough to not lower their standards.  Albuquerque is in desperate need of places like this that offer an alternative to the usual late night bar scene where you don’t feel overdressed actually wearing a dress or button up shirt and where the music doesn’t involve lyrics so vulgar that you hope your parents (or kids) never hear them.  Jazzbah is having their grand opening tomorrow, and I’m guessing once they get the typical new business kinks worked out (for example our berry flambe dessert didn’t quite flambe because the alcohol wasn’t quite flammable enough), they will find a loyal client base.  I hope to be among them!

And so, there we are.  Another wonderful summer weekend comes to an end as the Lavenders enjoy mojitos (except Giuseppe who is enjoying his frog toy).